One of the antiquated images of private schools is the separation of sexes: “The Manners School For Girls”, “The Academy For Boys”, right? The vast majority of modern-day private schools are in fact coeducational. As of the 2011-12 school year, only 2% of private schools were all-girls enrollment and another 2% enrolled solely boys. While there is something to be said for this style of education, especially at higher grade levels, there is a strong argument for keeping elementary school-age children in particular in coeducational classrooms.
In “the real world” after school ends, men and women aren’t ideally separated in society. Children of any gender should know how to work comfortably alongside those who have different gender identities and expressions than them. It’s been demonstrated in studies over and over that skills established in elementary school and early childhood tend to stay with children even into their adulthood.
Equality and Respect
Children don’t think of different genders than their own as “other” until they learn so from observation. To prevent sexism, othering, and confusion about the differences and similarities between genders, young children learn best together. When kids are taught together as equals, they grow to truly see each other equals.
In the same vein as respecting different gender expressions, having the chance to develop empathy for a wide variety of people is important in the development of young children. Elementary school age is a critical time in empathy development.
In our society, gendered stereotyping interests is unfortunately still prominent. The education system can only do so much to expand the horizons of young children who may be under the impression that they can’t play with a truck or dress up as a princess because of their gender. Young children learn most frequently through play with one another, and there is no greater way to let these children explore non-gendered interests than by playful coeducation.
One of the benefits of private education is the attention to best teaching practices and progressive education that a private institution can afford to pursue. As studies have shown favorable results in elementary coeducation, Conchita Espinosa is proud to have a nurturing coeducational environment for our young children.